“I don’t have time to read”. I hear this sentence way too often, and each time I hear it, it makes me sad. It makes me sad because it is through reading that one increases its knowledge, curiosity and inventiveness, arguably the three important ingredients for intellectual growth. Just ask any smart, successful person how many books they read, and you’ll quickly realize they consume tons of them. Therefore, no matter how busy we are, we should all be making time to read on a regular basis.
In this blogpost, I will explain how I managed to evolve from one or two books to at least 15 books a year.
Make it a ritual
In today’s ultra-connected and busy life, we tend to continuously prioritize urgent tasks over important tasks. Replying to your friend’s messages on Whatsapp is maybe urgent, but often not so important. However, an important but not urgent “task”, is reading and learning. Because of the lack of urgency, we tend to forget to read.
In order to help that, I have instilled a new ritual in my life. Every evening, or at least the evenings when I’m home, before going to bed, I mute my phone and replace TV-time by reading time.
The reason why it is important to make it a ritual is that it takes in average 2 months before a new behaviour turns into a new habit (https://jamesclear.com/new-habit), and like you know, habits are powerful because we don’t need to think about them anymore, we repeat them automatically.
Whenever I’m using the public transport, I read. But because a book can sometimes be very thick, or have a clumsy format, I bought an e-reader, and that was my best buy of 2017. I just love it! Small, light and a perfect ‘paper’ lookalike.
Because reading is impossible when driving a car, I just listen to audio-books or podcasts instead. While audiobooks are nice, I do have a slight preference for podcasts as I find them more easy to digest than books. One of my favorite podcasts on Spotify is on leadership and is called “EntreLeadership” (https://www.entreleadership.com/). Great insights. I’m a strong atheist and this podcast is religious, however, the values that are shared through the interview are universal, so I don’t mind the religious background.
Blinkist: a fast way to learn
One of the greatest apps I recently found is Blinkist. The app “summaries” in a very good, useful and efficient way the most important points of tons of non-fictional books. In fifteen to twenty minutes, you can catch up with the most important aspects of a specific book. It is then up to you to evaluate if you have enough information, or if the book is worth diving into.
Here is a good and transparent review on Blinkist: https://willyoulaugh.com/blinkist-review/
My take home message is try make reading a habit. If reading is too demanding for you or if you just prefer to listen instead, audio-books and podcasts are a great way to go. Apps like Blinkist make it so easy today as they just provide you with an easily searchable library of audio-summaries to help you get a lot of value out of books in a record of time. If George W. Bush was able to free enough time to read 186 books in two years while serving as president of the United States, we can manage to read more than that one book a year, right?